Cover of the book Using Trade Tools to Fight Climate Change

An effective strategy to combat global warming cannot succeed without mobilizing international trade and putting it in the service of the world’s critical climate goals. What avenues hold promise at the intersection of the international trade and climate change regimes and what space is available to policymakers to adopt trade-related climate measures? In Using Trade Tools to Fight Climate Change, Georgetown Law Professor Jennifer Hillman and Research Assistant Loriane Damian bring together a series of contributions that examine how the trade and climate regimes operate and how greater coordination between both regimes can be harnessed to address the climate crisis.

Headshot of Jennifer Hillman

Professor Jennifer Hillman

The book is drawn from seminars taught at Georgetown Law in the spring of 2022 and 2023 that asked students to delve deeply into the trade policies that can help accelerate the dissemination of cutting-edge technology and speed the transition to a low-carbon world, while avoiding trade frictions in the process. It includes analyses of decarbonization technologies in key sectors, including steel, cement, critical minerals and plastics, proposals for establishing trade norms for international trade in water and electricity, and needed reforms to bolster food security. The book also presents ideas for using trade tools in new ways to promote green technology transfers and help climate migrants, along with assessments of the exceptions to trade rules that would permit ambitious climate change actions without violating basic trade norms or creating trade disputes. It concludes with a carefully culled compilation of key sources of information and articles focused on the interaction between the international trade and climate change regimes. For anyone interested in understanding the frictions and opportunities that exist between trade and climate change and amplifying global efforts to address the climate crisis, this book is an essential reading.

Headshot of Loriane Damian

Loriane Damian

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, WTO Director-General: “The climate crisis is one of the defining issues of our time, and one for which trade and trade policies ought to be part of the solution. Using Trade Tools to Fight Climate Change could not come at a better time, all the more so as it brings some young and fresh perspectives to examine different ways in which trade can be a force for good and a key driver to achieving the low-carbon economy, climate resilience, and just transition that our world so urgently needs.”

Dan Esty, Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy, Yale University: “As the global community comes to grips with the challenge of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, policymakers are urgently looking for new pathways to deep decarbonization, including ways that international trade policy could help drive progress — and Using Trade Tools to Fight Climate Change offers a sweeping menu of options to consider. A must-read for all those thinking about how to ramp up the global response to climate change!”

Carolyn Deere Birkbeck, Director of the Forum on Trade, Environment & the SDGs (TESS), Geneva Graduate Institute: “Using Trade Tools to Fight Climate Change offers innovative thinking from a new generation of experts on trade law and policy and a diverse range of proposals for how governments can harness trade and trade policies to fight climate change, particularly in ways that are inclusive and fair. It will both inform policymakers and provoke reflection on concrete ways to harness trade tools in support of climate action.”